Top driver injured in spill at Fraser Downs

Friends rally for ‘Moneyman’ Marino, facing months of recovery.

Driver Jim Marino in a race at Fraser Downs in Cloverdale.

Friends and supporters in B.C.’s horse racing community are rallying around a top Fraser Downs driver who was injured in a recent spill and will be sidelined for several months.

Jim Marino was tossed from his race bike, seriously injuring his leg, arm and hand, landing him at Royal Columbian Hospital. Friends and colleagues are gathering a week Sunday for a fundraiser to help ease the financial burden on the Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary grad, who faces months of recovery.

They’re hosting a burger and beer night fundraiser March 1 at Samz Pub in Langley, starting at 6 p.m. A silent auction and raffle is also planned.

Meantime, a Go Fund Me account has been set up online with a goal of $10,000. More than $3,500 has already poured in.

“Let’s pull together and put a smile back on Jimmy’s face ‘cause he deserves any and all the help that we can provide for him,” said friend Lexie O’Neill, who help set up the Horse Community Help for Jim Marino account and is one of fundraiser organizers.

Marino is famous for his winning ways at Fraser Downs, where he’s a frequent presence in the winners’ circle on race days – as are the horses he owns and trains.

According to Standardbred Canada, Marino moved from Thunder Bay, ON, to B.C. at the age of four, when his father passed away. He attended horse camps, learned to ride, and by the time he was eight, was dreaming of becoming a harness racing driver.

He’s enjoying an impressive career, winning more than 1,800 races.

With more than $10 million in career purse money earnings for the sport, it’s little wonder they call him Jim “The Moneyman” Marino.

He was driving Mood Light in the seventh race Jan. 23, when there was a spill, and Marino was run over by another horse.

He was headed home after several surgeries to repair fractures and ligament damage.

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